How to remove the Adobe Acrobat Update service

For reasons unknown, Adobe leaves its Acrobat Update service running even after you’ve uninstalled Adobe Acrobat Reader. The updater service seems to become a bit confused when the program it’s supposed to update has been uninstalled. It can even slow down your computer’s start-up time.

Here is how you finish the job and get rid of the Acrobat Update service.

The Adobe Acrobat Update service has a practically immeasurable impact on system performance when it’s working as it should. However, if you uninstall Adobe Acrobat Reader, the service will report high storage I/O activity when you login to Windows.

You’ve probably uninstalled Acrobat Reader DC to get rid of it. You don’t need its updater service anymore and want to can remove it from your system as well.

You can follow the below instructions to remove the service, assuming you’ve already uninstalled Adobe Acrobat Reader DC either from Windows Settings: System: Apps and programs, or Control Panel: Programs: Uninstall a program. Please do this before continuing!

  1. Open up an administrative PowerShell by searching for “PowerShell” in the Start menu, right-clicking on the program, and choosing “Run as administrator”. You can also use an administrative Command Prompt.
  2. Disable and delete the service by typing in these two commands. Press Enter after each command:
    sc.exe stop AdobeARMservice
    sc.exe delete AdobeARMservice
  3. Delete the left-over files from your disk to get rid of it completely. Press Enter after carefully typing in the command:
    del "%PROGRAMFILES(X86)%\Common Files\Adobe\ARM\"
  4. Close the PowerShell window.

All you’ve to do if you want to restore the service is to reinstall Acrobat Reader from Adobe’s website.

I don’t know why the service is left on the system after Acrobat Reader is uninstalled. It’s possible that Adobe decided to leave it in case you changed your mind and reinstalled it later.

However, this doesn’t make much sense as the service would be replaced and updated if you reinstalled Acrobat Reader. Other Adobe software all use their own updater services, so leaving this service behind on the system just looks like a bug in the uninstall program.

I’ve reported this problem to Adobe twice already, but have yet to hear back from them. Come to think of it, I think I’m still waiting on to hear back from Adobe on bugs I submitted to them back in 2008! Until they sort out the issue with their uninstaller, this tutorial should help people get rid of the software.

This tutorial was last updated for Adobe Acrobat Reader DC version 2015.020.20039.